Lisa Stublić Nemec

poetic exploits into the human condition

perpetual waiting (or: Life in Croatia)


i’m just hiding–

tucked away in my own little quiet corner of the world
as if i have the right to call it my own.
its quiet is that of the innocent damned in hiding
nervous and pensive, steady yet fiddle-footed
and it is not much of a corner, rather a boomerang
and maybe that is why i felt so compelled to return
to this land fore(my)father

that fast forward flicker film
via vile k-hole bigcity existence
of those long begotten salad days
into this quasi silent film reel dramatics
in a country plagued with perpetual waiting

waiting for what?

for an end?
for a beginning?
for answers?
for questions?

waiting, just waiting

Streetcars and Husbands


Some poorly dressed kid
in some indie variegated over washed T-shirt
and ripped (from years of use) jeans
offers his advice as if he had years of wisdom
under his sleeve:

“Znate, Hrvati imaju dvije zakon za život:
1. Nemoj trčati za tramvajem. 2. Nemoj trčati za mužem. i to je to.”*

And that is it?

As if chasing after street cars and men
where the things weighing me down
and causing my sleepless nights
and over-caffeinated days…

as if this was the cause of my sciolistic urge
to make up for the fact
i didn’t live up to the dreams of my childhood.
*Translation: “You know, Croats have two rules for life: 1. Do not run after streetcars. 2. Do not run after a husband. And that is it.

When Clocks Sail Away


When clocks sail away in the thin night air
leaving existence vanquished as ash gray
blankets all that the world knew, would we care
that there’s nothing outside of where we lay?
When time’s gone, pulse becomes a memory
as distant to us as last year’s dimmed dreams,
but metamorphose is a subtlety
cached ’til stars tell what’s left to be seen: 

anti-gravity, anti–world, anti-
everything; (even stars are long extinct)
just you and I — a floating lullaby
counterpoint to a feeling so distinct.

In a cruel world when feelings seem erased
over-indulgency should be embraced.

transatlantic hide and seek



you can paint over
this tarnish any way you’d like
renovate the facade
outline it in gold
cover it with silver glitter
spray paint some prettier picture

but this transatlantic hide and seek
has gone far enough

it is over. over.
so, i bid you adieu.
au revoir mon amour.
auf Wiedersehen meine Liebe.
do viđenja moja ljubavi
farewell and Godspeed

oh, who am i kidding?

Poet versus Words



where words were supposed to dance
on white background blue lines,
it is only i who lie there–insensate.

the stanzas whose broken promises
never quite make it past my tongue
embody loss and love and hope.
i try to bribe them with promises
of an audience, of fans, of adoration.
i try to bribe them with gifts
of alcohol, of money, of diamonds
but they just sit content and alone.

and i,
who am not content alone,
envy those poems inside of me
who refuse to be heard.



Sestina to the 1020 Bar



Like you, the night is blanketed in darkness
leaving everything hidden except your specter
which haunts my sullen heart. The weight wistfully
reminding me that even I could be infatuated
by something so illicit and debase as a liaison—
a dangerously sly head versus heart betrayal.

In these overwrought times, boredom begs betrayal
leading us all to seek refuge in the tempting darkness.
A message here, a shot there, a smile, a wink, a liaison.
Crazed, yet comforted by the lyrics of your specter—
(Light-headed—in the throes of love—infatuated)
this is but a fiction that reality takes away wistfully.

My morning heart recalls the night wistfully.
I am falling in love with fictions. A betrayal
of a besotting broken-heartedness infatuated
with the empty promises of the drunken darkness.
“Sweet-nothings…” softly whispers your specter.
These contrary obliquities lead only to liaison.

Seduction as weapon in this dangerous liaison
in which passions by night are abandoned wistfully
by morning. I am forlorn as your derelict specter
vacates the void left in my heart. This morning betrayal
lingers, taunting, until the mask of lascivious darkness
returns and I am once again left bare and infatuated.

A cage of passions is the heart infatuated.
After shots of whiskey and Guinness my liaison
leads me on an adventure through the darkness
the past forgotten as I look towards our future wistfully:
a borne love that could not be. A glimpse of betrayal
and above it all, with a mischievous grin, stands your specter

Conscience submitted to connected isolation is the specter
of falling in love at a distance. Becoming infatuated
with a fantasy is the new modern day fairy-tale of betrayal.
A needy girl and a wanton boy in a dirty bar form a liaison.
Prince Charming and the beautiful princess wistfully
locked away in old books and forgotten in the darkness.

Yet at night returns your specter whispering of an illicit liaison
to my disparate heart infatuated while traversing memories wistfully
of this body and soul betrayal in his sapphire blue-eyed darkness.


the maelstrom of my youth

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the maelstrom of my youth betides
devastating the freshly poured concrete
i lay as a foundation, an attempt
at growing up and becoming wiser,
neglecting apathy, omitting dramatics–
unlearning the beauty in melancholy,

because all i really want
is some place to call home.
even if that home was only
empty wine bottle sculptures
garnishing our shoebox residence.

the maelstrom of my youth betides
devastating the freshly poured concrete
i lay as a boulevard out of its quarters,
as an attempt to outgrow and egress
this irrational blind apathetic love
and more into something more stable,

because all i really want
is sturdy ground out of these circles.
but then, i’ve learned
pouring a sidewalk to walk away on
is not the same as paving a life path.